Maduro wants to punish Venezuelan Catholic bishops over prayers

Catholic bishops' prayers for corruption to end raise Maduro's ire

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

President Nicolas Maduro accused Bishops Antonio Lopez Castillo, left, and Victor Hugo Basabe, right, of hate crimes Monday night. AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File 2016 and photos courtesy of Roman Catholic Church in Venezuela.

CARACAS - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's aggressive crackdown on anyone who opposes his regime is targeting two Roman Catholic bishops who are praying for corruption to end in the oil rich country.

While his socialist congress passed a new law that makes it a hate crime to be critical of the government, Maduro also counts on the supporters of the socialist party who control the judicial branch to enforce it.   

"The people have faith, despite the slander of the so-called priests of the Catholic Church, of the so-called archbishops, one of them called us all a plague, called the Chavista people a plague," Maduro said during a speech Monday night. 

Bishop Victor Hugo Basabe of San Felipe prayed for the liberation of Venezuela from the "corrupt plague" that has some Venezuelans looking for food in garbage, and Bishop Antonio Lopez Castillo of Barquisimeto prayed that Venezuela be saved from corruption, according to Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.

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